Ways to provide good customer service
Gone are the days when business hours were built around the owner’s schedule. Today the customer wants to shop when their schedule allows, which is not always between 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. The customer also wants their products they are looking for the first time, or with as little hassle as possible.
But will the time and products alone bring back your customers? Providing good customer service is the only thing that will set your business apart and bring back repeat customers. With so many choices out there anymore, if your employees don’t treat every customer like they were the last, they just very well may be the last.
Businesses will lose customers for a variety of reasons. Here are the top five:
3% move away
5% influenced by friends to try something else
14% dissatisfied by product
68% TURNED AWAY BY AN ATTITUDE OF INDIFFERENCE ON THE PART OF A COMPANY EMPLOYEE. (www.microcreditnth.org)
Customers want prompt, courteous, and knowledgeable service by easily identifiable sales people. Today’s shopper fits a different profile and allocates their time differently from years ago.
Providing good customer service is so much easier than it sounds. We all know what it’s like to be treated poorly in a place of business, but sometimes we don’t realize we are doing the same thing to people we deal with on a daily basis.
Being a Customer Service STAR is quite easy. It’s a matter of being polite, courteous, and friendly. “S”mile, there’s hardly a warmer greeting to a person entering your place of business. “T”ry to determine the person’s needs quickly. “A”cknowledge by calling out or approaching the person. This also helps deter criminal activity if a person who is “up to no good” thinks they are being watched they will leave. “R”espond to questions as completely as possible (or know where to get the needed information). (www.4hb.com)
No matter how hard you try, you are always going to have some dissatisfied customers. Here is a list of suggested actions when dealing with a dissatisfied or angry customer:
TAKE OWNERSHIP. The customer wants someone to take personal responsibility for resolving their problem. If you have the authority and responsibility, then take personal ownership. If not, then quickly identify and secure someone (manager) who can.
LISTEN. The angry or dissatisfied customer wants to tell someone about their problem and to vent their frustration. Allow them to do that. Apply the skills of active listening.
APOLOGIZE. This will open the door to problem resolution.
EMPATHIZE. Let the customer know that you understand why they are upset. Then work to separate the problem from the emotion.
IDENTIFY POINTS OF AGREEMENT. What, specifically, has caused the customer to be angry or dissatisfied?
DETERMINE WHAT SOLUTION(S) THE CUSTOMER WANTS.
PROVIDE SOLUTION OPTIONS THAT SATISFY THE CUSTOMER’S NEEDS AND THE POLICIES OF YOUR ORGANIZATION.
IF YOU CAN’T SATISFY THE CUSTOMER, TELL THEM SO, WHY, AND WHAT YOU CAN DO.
ASK IF YOU CAN PROVIDE ADDITIONAL SERVICE AND IF THE CUSTOMER IS SATISFIED.
EXCEED EXPECTATIONS. Provide additional products or services above and beyond the problem resolution the customer expects. This simple act, resolving the problem at the 110% level, is among the most potent ways to earn long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty. (www.wsbdc.org)
Outside the one-on-one customer service arena, there are so many ways to continue to bond with your consumers and provide all the information and pleasantries that will make your business stand out. But most importantly, a smile, a friendly “hello”, a genuine concern for your customers’ needs is what Customer Service is all about, No special training is required, just be nice!